Gospel Reflections

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 4:12-23

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Mary O'Brien

Published: January 22, 2017

The responsorial psalm includes the lines: “There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life.”  The Gospel tells the story of the call of the first four apostles. The passage tells in very few words that Jesus called four men - two pairs of brothers - to follow him. Then the story tells - again in very few words - what Jesus did next - no more mention here of these four men. Obviously this is one passage and only a part of the whole.  However if we take it as a renewal of our appreciation and understanding of the call of God we can take time to renew our dedication.

Peter and Andrew were fishing: they came, left everything and followed. But they must have told somebody that they were going. James and John were with their father in the boat - what happened to their father? The call of God to the individual has effects on other people - but the call is insistent and to be answered. Replies can be, “yes,” “no,” “not yet,” “why me?” But the true response is to accept and to go ahead - as the psalm says, “To live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”

The Gospel passage goes on to talk about the actions of Jesus - what were these four men doing, thinking, learning, experiencing? They were going through the first stages of their new life so we can compare it to their novitiate - a time of withdrawal, intense learning, reflection and acceptance. They were hearing Jesus teach, seeing him cure the sick, learning how he related to the people he met. We can wonder how Peter, Andrew, James and John changed during this time. Their growth can encourage us to appreciate the gifts we have each received and to see how we have developed in our own vocation. We might again return to the line, “to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” and be grateful for the prayer life with which are surrounded in our communities. This life is one which reflects the years of fidelity which we see in others which in its turn helps us to persevere in our own ways of moving closer to the God who calls us continually, day after day.

Perhaps we can sum up the joy of our lives from a line in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…you have made their joy increase, they rejoice in your presence.”  As this year goes on may we live our resolutions in the joy and peace of the Lord who calls us hour by hour.


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